West Ham can ditch Antonio for Vitor Roque

West Ham United have seemingly been searching for someone to take the reigns from Michail Antonio for years now, with the Jamaican forward boasting a unique skill set that very few can match.

With a hulking physique and incredible speed, he has always been adept at willingly running the channels.

However, what sets him apart is his ability on the ball too, whether it be running at defences or with his back to goal. He can link up play, create for himself or others, and finish when the chances arrive. As such, he remains the Hammers’ all-time Premier League top scorer.

So, when David Moyes decided to unload £35.5m to acquire Gianluca Scamacca, it seemed like the Italian might be the true heir to allow the 32-year-old to see out his years as a bit part player before retirement.

This has unfortunately not been the case, and the 23-year-old has just three league goals to his name in January. Such is his form that Moyes has opted to feature Antonio in more league games (19) than he has his summer signing (16), despite some less-than-stellar performances from the former.

At the back end of last season, he was labelled “shocking” by West Ham media personality Lawless, who continued by noting that “he really needs to step up.”

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Perhaps looking to spark Scamacca to life, or aiming to avenge his failed attempt to sign Manchester City’s Julian Alvarez in the past, the Scotsman is now reportedly seeking another trip to South America to secure a deal for Brazilian wonderkid Vitor Roque.

The Irons have submitted a loan deal with an obligation to buy the 17-year-old, with a fee of around €20m (£18m) touted.

Such is his immense talent, the teenage sensation has already drawn praise from his legendary compatriot Ronaldo, better known as ‘R9’.

When speaking on Roque, he claimed: “He is going to fly so high”, before the youngster’s father claimed: “It’s exciting to know that the best in the world is praising my son, and that he is following the path of O Fenomeno.”

It is a path tough to tread, given how he took to European football with such ease. 

But, with 14 senior goals already to his name, and a pace and dynamism that resembles both Ronaldo and Antonio, perhaps the step up could spur him to improve his game further.

Either way, it is another player who can hopefully replace the ageing marksman in the pecking order and become a star in years to come.